HomeSportCricketButcher spoilt for choice ahead of SA series

Butcher spoilt for choice ahead of SA series


The Zimbabwe Cricket selection panel looks set to be spoiled for choice ahead of the tough five-match Twenty20 (T20) series against South Africa in June following the return of key players to the training squad named yesterday.

While both Zimbabwe Cricket and Cricket South Africa have confirmed the five-match T20 series, the schedule is however yet to be finalised. Zimbabwe are set to go into camp from May 2 with a 24-member training squad.

The return of opening batsman Vusi Sibanda in the training squad — although expected — was certainly the major highlight in the squad and the 28-year-old right-hander is a firm favourite to reclaim his place in the top order.

In the absence of Sibanda, the batting order was left vulnerable in all formats with selectors trying no less than four opening combinations during the forgettable tour of New Zealand.

The only success came in the last match of the tour when Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri posted 76 runs for the first wicket in the second T20.

The fact this was only the second time Zimbabwe’s opening partnership reached double figures during the tour in seven attempts will make Sibanda’s return worthwhile.

Another return that will excite selectors is that of experienced lanky pace bowler Chris Mpofu, who also missed the New Zealand tour because of a lower back injury.

The return of Mpofu leaves selectors with no less than seven options in the seam bowling department, but the experience of the latter will definitely come in handy against the class of the South Africans.

Other seamers vying for places in the team include Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori, Shingi Masakadza, Keegan Meth, Tendai Chatara, Njabulo Ncube and Richard Muzhange who received his first call-up to the national team training squad.

Muzhange, who progressed very well under the tutelage of Australian Jason Gillespie at MidWest Rhinos, made a very good impression during the Stanbic T20 series as a very good death bowler.
However, one player, who is under pressure to do well in the bowling department, is left-arm fast bowler Vitori, who struggled to build on his positive start in international cricket.

In the batting department the Matabeleland Tuskers pair of Craig Ervine and Charles Coventry also makes a return to the squad after recently falling out of favour with selectors.

Ervine had recently been overlooked for not converting his good starts into big scores while Coventry’s aggressiveness had sometimes been misunderstood as careless.

For young Kevin Kasuza, the stint in the national team training squad will be a good learning curve, but the promising national Under-19 batsman is definitely one for the future.

Squad: Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Charles Coventry, Forster Mutizwa, Graeme Cremer, Raymond Price, Tendai Chatara, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Brian Vitori, Keegan Meth, Njabulo Ncube, Kelvin Kasuza, Natsai Mushangwe, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Richard Muzhange, Vusi Sibanda, Craig Ervine

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